These deities are for the hunt, instincts, willing sacrifice and ecstasy. Cernunnos
Cernunnos, meaning 'horned one', was a generic term for the various Horned Gods of the Celtic tradition. The god dates back to the shamanic figures portrayed on cave walls. Cernunnos was lord of winter, the hunt, animals, death, male fertility and the Underworld, and was sometime portrayed as a triple or trefoil god, an image later assimilated by St Patrick with his emblematic shamrock.
Other forms of the Horned God include Heme the Hunter, the Greek Pan, god of the woodlands, and Dionysus, Greek god of vegetation and the vine, whose ecstatic mystery cult involved ritual dismemberment and resurrection.
Cerunnos' importance has been in his continuing presence as the Horned God, the male principle in witchcraft through the ages, in modern Wicca and other neo-pagan faiths. He is also invoked for prosperity, fertility, instinctive power and knowledge of when it is necessary to hunt, whether to find employment or a home, and as protection against predators of all kinds.
Dionysus, sometimes depicted as a Horned God, was a god of the grain, who died and was reborn every year as a child in a basket, representing the seed corn. He was the Greek god of fertility, ecstasy and wildness, who bestowed great abundance on his followers; his cult performed savage rites at Eleusius where human flesh was eaten as the bread of life. Not an easy deity to use, without great experience and restraint, as the excesses carried out under his name need to be kept in check while invoking the free spirit and the renewal of life. He is potent for breaking away from destructive situations or, ironically, bad habits such as alcohol.
Osiris became one of the most important and popular gods in Ancient Egypt, mainly because he promised non-royal believers that resurrection and salvation from death were for everyone, poor as well as rich. Originally he was identified with each dead pharaoh, and his son Horus was identified with the reigning successor.
Osiris married his sister Isis, and his brother Seth married Isis's sister Nephthys. According to legend, Osiris was at first made an earthly king by his father Geb, the Earth God. Osiris ruled wisely, teaching his people about agriculture and the arts. But Osiris's brother Seth was jealous and vowed to kill him. Seth invited Osiris to a feast and showed the guests a fine coffer, promising that whoever fitted inside would be the owner. Osiris stepped inside the coffer and it fitted perfectly. Seth slammed the lid tight and he and his followers threw the chest into the Nile.
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